In Saint Petersburg, SKA took on Jokerit Helsinki HC for the third 2017/2018 KHL regular season match. SKA had beaten Jokerit just a week ago at the Nikolai Puchkov tournament, winning 5:1. Head coach Oleg Znarok opted to put Igor Shestyorkin between the pipes for this match.
Having won the first two KHL matches, SKA made a confident start at the Ice Palace. Ilya Kovalchuk opened the scoring within nine minutes on a powerplay, lashing a rising wrist shot beyond the unsighted Ryan Zapolski. Jokerit were knocked by that early setback, contriving to earn four penalties in the period. Nevertheless, the goalkeeper was on top form, as he pulled off a number of excellent saves to prevent SKA from extending the advantage. Igor Shestyorkin was much a spectator, saving just three shots during the frame.
However, Jokerit dramatically improved in the second stanza. The Finns came flying out of the blocks, crashing SKA's net at any given opportunity. Tommi Huhtala should have equalised on a breakaway, but his one timer was brilliantly saved by Igor Shestyorkin's right pad. Igor was forced into twenty saves in the second period, with Jokerit forcing the issue.
Our players kept Jokerit at bay in the third frame, restricting their Finnish opponents to just three shots on target. In the final stages, SKA finally put the game to bed. Sergei Shirokov netted the second on the powerplay, slotting home after Yegor Yakovlev had made a stunning pass to the slot. Igor Shestyorkin held on to his shutout, seeing SKA through to a tough 2:0 win against Jokerit!
SKA - Jokerit - 2:0 (1:0, 0:0, 1:0)
1:0 Kovalchuk (Plotnikov), 08.49
2:0 Shirokov (Yakovlev, Plotnikov), 56.47
Goalkeepers: Shestyorkin - Zapolski
Shots on target: 27 - 27
Penalty minutes: 8 - 12
Faceoffs: 31 - 24
Hits: 19 - 11
Referees: Gofman, Frano
25.08.2017. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.